tv Special Report With Bret Baier FOX News October 22, 2012 1:00am-2:00am PDT
did the administration have any00 up? >> they panned i could. >> can you briefly speak to us about the attack? >> this is not the appropriate time. >> we are in a stronger position today than we were four years ago. >> does the obama administration have a problem calling it by its name. >> the suggestion that anybody on my team would play politics or mislead is offensive. >> would you have protected ambassador stevens? special report, investigations,
death and deceit in benghazi. from washington, d.c., here is bret baier. >> it looked like this election was all about the economy, but that changed when terrorists murdered four americans at the united states consulate in benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11. americans had questions. who did this and how? should our government have seen it coming? did president obama tried to hide the truth? is this a huge scandal that exposes a failed obama foreign policy? is mitt romney just saying it is. tonight we'll try to give you answers. we'll walk you step by step through the terror of that day and break down the political maneuvering that has followed. we begin with a series of frightening developments and troubling decisions leading up to that horrific night. it's a story you haven't heard. it's told by a man who tried to
prevent what happened on september 11th, 2012. >> did you have a close relationship with the ambassador? >> i lived and worked with him for two months when he came on to the time i left, yeah. >> bret: no one understands more the full extent the fiasco that killed stevens. he worked with him for six months before his violent death. 24-year special forces veteran, woods' job was try to prevent such an attack occurring. >> that was my first reaction that ambassador stevens had been killed. i was angry. >> bret: why have you come forward? >> it was the hub of everything that was going on there. >> bret: we begin our story in the winter of 2011. colonel moammar khadafy is still
in power but rebels are gaining control over much of libya. february 25th the u.s. state department withdraws all the personnel from the capital but six weeks later, april 5th, it sends stevens with a 12-man team by chartered boat to benghazi now under rebel control. as special representative to the rebels, stevens set up shop in the hotel. june 1st, 2011, a car bomb explodes in the parking lot in front of that hotel. steents academy his team decide it's too dangerous to stay there. in august, stevens and his team have a compound on the west side of city. >> it was rented from an owner who had a nice villa and several out buildings there. >> not a lot of security. >> inside the walls, four buildings, one is a large
residence with a number of bedrooms in it. another residence has a cantina where the staff eats. across wait is what they call their tactical operations center built for staff, phones and security monitors. finally the barracks a small house by the main gate. it will house a libyan security force. october 20th, moammar khadafy is captured and killed. >> revolutions, killing goes on. while scores are being settled. sometimes it was revenge killing back and forth. there was still fighting going on. >> with khadafy gone, he will spend mop of his time there but he he'll come to been gas si often. they upgrade physical security. charlene lamb. >> the concrete, barbed wire and
razor wire. >> inside the large residence a fortified save shaven built. you enter through a heavy melt grill. >> tell me about this safe haven >> barred on the windows. you are basically building a jail cell. it's a delay until you can get some relief to get out of there. >> security on the compound consists of five diplomatic security special agents and four members of the libyan government security force called the 17th february brigade. former u.n. ambassador john bolton. >> it is the responsibility of host governments to provide security for all diplomatic establishments. from the u.s. point of view we have to recognize that some countries are better able to do that than others. when you are in a high threat environment we have to do what is necessary to protect our personnel on the ground. >> bret: there is more security
at is what called the annex, a mile away. based in tripoli and moving around the country is a department of defense site security team. february 12th, 2012, lieutenant colonel wood who joined the utah national guard after two decades in personality forces arrives in libya as the new commander. >> it had 16 members zbloobtsd what did they do? >> site security operations that had extra skills. >> bret: could a team that small make a difference? >> caliber of individuals on the team were the best in the united states inventory. they could make a difference in any fire fight. >> the problem that sst is slated on end the tour by summer's end and the security situation is taking an ominous
turn. >> spring of 2012 this was an uptick in terror attacks in libya? >> that is true. the nature of things started to change. when i first got on the ground, there was a lot of lawlessness going back and forth. as things progressed. commotion settled down but the targeted attacks seemed to pick up. >> bret: april 6th a bomb is tossed over the wall. benghazi compound. june 6th, an ide is placed on the compounds north gate. no one is injured in either incident. that is not the case five days later. june 11th, a convoy transporting great britain's ambassador is ambushed in been gas georgia si. two of his security aides are. >> clearly that was terrorist attack? >> we conducted an investigation a couple days afterwards and walk the ground and took photographs and examined the
vehicle. they knew what they were doing. it was definitely an assassination attempt. as i could see it, they were growing stronger we were last thing no o that targeted list. >> there has been 230 security incidents in libya. what is apparent to woods, terrorists are working on increasingly bigger plots. >> i had seen this before that, they were bombing, i say a series of things going on. it was clear to me they were building towards additional attacks. >> that is why wood and eric nordstrom the regional security officer implored the state department to keep woods sgst force in libya beyond the -- sst force beyond the departure. >> we were requesting to keep the security that we had. that was being taken away.
>> bret: so you want to keep your team on the ground, the team that was in place. >> my team was only a small part. there was msd, state department msd. >> that stands for mobile security detachment team. >> a lot of those are ex-green beret, gs navy seals. there was three teams when i got on the ground there. >> august 5th, the state department decides not to keep the sst in libya. and the msd team is being reduced, as well. >> who opposed it? >> charlene lamb. she denied the requests or didn't fill in. >> why was that? you knew about all these other attacks? >> we had been training local libyans and arming them. >> let me interrupt. >> why do you think the request
was denied? >> i really don't know. >> in the case of the sgst, that would have provided by state department. state department didn't have to pay money. i can't imagine why. that was coming out of the congressional investigations. >> were you flabbergasted. what can we do. >> we can't even keep what we had. >> i think what was motivating the state department if we had security that would have truly been appropriate it would have been admission that conditions on the ground were not safe. that would have violated the view this was an administration success. >> lift libya in august less than a month before the attack. how did you feel about the security situation when you left? >> i didn't like it. >> bret: september 10th, the
ambassador chris stevens arrives for a full day of meetings. his first trip since woods security team left the country. >> going to a dangerous place like benghazi but he knew it, didn't he? >> yes, he knew, but high went anyway because in his heart the mission came first first. >> bret: september 11th, 2012 a mob gathers at the u.s. embassy in cairo egypt and scales the walls and burns the american flag. the explanation is they are angry over an obscure video produced in california. meanwhile, something else is going on in benghazi. at about 5:00 p.m. eastern time the first reports about an attack come across the wire. it won't be until morning until america learns how serious that is. >> we just weren't there. >> if you were, could you have
>>. >> bret: details are still coming out about what happened in benghazi on september 11th, in off camera hearings and congressional hearings and special reports has investigated at well. greg palkot went to benghazi himself. there he talked to eyewitnesses and scoured the abandoned compound for additional clues. now, he pulls it all together and walks you through a timeline of terror you won't soon forget. >> september 11th, 2012, morning the u.s. ambassador chris
stevens has a full day of meetings ahead of him. since this is 11th anniversary of al-qaeda attacks he schedules all of them inside the mission walls in benghazi. he takes his last meeting with the turkish consul general. 8:30 p.m. he escorts him to main gate. he returns inside. >> at this point, outside the main gate of the compound on the other side of the u.s. mission walls in benghazi neighborhood all is quiet. no stirring of any protests. no sign of the real hell about to unfold. >> in fact the ambassador decides to turn in for the night. 9:00 p.m., no sign of any spontaneous demonstration over that web video. a protest the obama administration would later suggest escalade in a deadly riot. joining stevens in the main building is information
management officer sean smith and four special agents. another agent is at the nearby tactical operations center. all these agenth pistols. 9:40 p.m. this amateur video apparently captures the first movement outside the compound. >> mad mob of attackers break through here, a weak point in the defense of mission and move on here to the understaffed militia barracks. they storm the place, they torch it up and light up cars around it and move on. >> the fighters are well armed and organized. flying the radical islamist flag. agent in the operations center is seeing scoring of men pouring into the compound. >> a diplomatic security agent working in the tactical operations center activated the imminent danger notification system. >> charlene lamb was working that night in washington.
so she could follow the events in realtime. >> he also alerted the quick reaction security team stationed nearby. libyan 17th brigade. embassy in tripolir and command center in washington. >> reporter: back here in the main residence, special agent comes here and gets ambassador stevens from his bedroom and brings him to this room in the safe haven, really with medicine and other supplies, a big dark windowless cloud. then outside a locked gated. >> he radios the others in the compound to say they are fine. other security agents are scram amid gunshots and explosions. as two of them head back to the main residence, they are cut off. they decide to go back and barricade themselves in. >> there are seven americans at
three different locations. they are in the main residence, two special agents at the special residence and here tactical operations center, two more agents. attackers all around. >> one group penetrates the small residence. they don't get to the agents and eventually leave. >> inside the main residence as the different story. attackers come in here and ransack the place and they go for the locked gates. though look inside, it's dark and they can't see anything. they can't open it up. inside agent rubin has a gun trained on them ready to shoot if need be. >> as lieutenant andrew woods it's only safe for a short time. >> its delay for aggressive group. >> that some of them may have been his elite security team but they were pulled out of the country. they were trapped.
>>. >> bret: before the break, greg palkot told you how the terrorists overran the compound. they were pinned down in three locations. three of those people including chris stiewts have locked themselves in so-called safe haven constructed in one of those buildings. they can't break in. so they set the place ablaze. once again from benghazi. here is greg palkot. >> reporter: it's around 10:00
p.m. the entire safe haven is black with thick smoke and fumes. ambassador stevens thof to a bathroom within the safe area. they try to open it. there is too much smoke. they drop to the floor trying to get air but even down there they can't breathe. they try to leave the safe haven and take their chances. >> fighting the heat and smoke they find another window grill they can open. this is the window they open and crawls out of but stevens and smith do not crawl out after him. he goes back in and in fact he goes back in several emails. he can't find them. he is overcome with smoke. >> he struggles up a small ladder to the roof of the building and collapses. another agent in full gear emerges from the tactical
operation center, throwing a smoke grenade he gets two agents out. the three get into an armored vehicle and drive a short distance to the large residence. taking turns they crawl into the residence on their hands and knees feeling their way through the building to try to find their two colleagues. they find smith and pull him out of the building. she dead. now, remember. security team is gone but small unit of security a mile away. six americans and 16 from the libyan militia arrive. some surround the compound. others go in. they are unable to find stevens. by 11:00 the libyan forces say they can no longer hold the perimeter. american agents carrying smith's body exit the main gated. they head for the annex about a merely away. the crowd fires upon them and throws two grenades under their
vehicle. they take direct fire from ak-47. despite heavy damage to their vehicle they keep rolling. they hit more traffic and busy benghazi neighborhood. it careens over a middle divide ear and finally makes it to the annex and again hope for safety. sometime after midnight, they enter the building and find the body slumped on the floor. they don't know who he is. they drag him out through a window. his eyesed eyes are dazed. someone is breathing. the crowd is cheer. allah akbar, god a great. >> and ambassador stevens is brought by car here to the benghazi medical center where they try to resuscitate him for 45 minutes. he died of severe aphysical yiax >> the battle is on again. fighters hitting the place with
ak-47 fire forcing those inside to retreat to a building further back in the annex compound. sometime after one-third a team of reinforcements arrive. they make their way to the annex. they were going into an ambush. around 4:00 a.m. this annex compound is hit by another wave of attacks. round of mortar fire targeting a roof of the building and turns out to be dangerous and deadly. killed in that attack, two security personnel, glen doherty and another navy seal. and another one that injured that tried to save the lives of steven. fighters are repelled. annex a base of operations for sensitive intelligence work striking militants in eastern
libya is secured. >> 8:30 a.m., september 12th the second plane leaves with the bodies of ambassador stevens, schmidt and odor her at this and woods. andrew wood says the security team would have made a difference. >> it was the job to protect the ambassador if something happened. it was our job to defend the compound and engage those targets. >> chris stevens was the first u.s. ambassador killed on duty in more than three decades. september 11th, 2012 was a tragedy that will long be remembered. then the story moves back to washington. what followed the fog of war and attempted cover-up or something else? special
>>. >> bret: carnage is over. the story shift now to washington. here is chief white house correspondent ed henry. >> since our founding the united states has been a nation that respects all faiths. we reject all efforts to denigrated religious beliefs of others. >> september 12th, he seems to embrace an idea that his aides will advance over the next two weeks that the ambassador and three other americans were killed in a spontaneous riot over an internet video. he does use the term terror but only in a general sense in context of the september 2001 terror attacks. >>. >> he gives an interview to 60 minutes shortly thereafter.
he says nothing that has happened has made him second guess his policies since arab spring. >> i continued to be pretty certain there be bumps in the road. >> because nevada is battleground state. >> he leaves for a campaign trip to las vegas. >> the president of the united states did not postpone a campaign event even though we had been hit. >> i thought that was the biggest strategic mistake of the obama campaign. >> dana was press security in george bush's administration. she is now a fox news host. >> imagine if he would have said as commander in chief, it's important for me to stay back in the white house. how responsible. >> once he made a statement i'm not sure what he should have done. >> obviously to be in mourning for several days and not go about our daily business.
>> hillary clinton suggests the attack was just a spontaneous demonstration about the anti-islam video. >> there is no justification, none at all for a responding to this video with violence. >> reporter: current white house press secretary says flat out the next day. >> these protests were in reaction to a video. we have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. >> and later that day when the president and secretary of state greet the deceased at joint base andrews, clinton talks again about the video. >> we have seen rage and violence directed at american embassies over an awful internet video that we had nothing to do with. >> september 15th, california authorities they call in the man that produced the video for questioning and marched him in front of tv cameras. september 16, u.s. ambassador to
the united nations goes on five talk shows repeating the same story each time. >> what happened initially, it was a spontaneous reaction to what had transpired in cairo. >> my reaction where is secretary of state hillary clinton. >> to john bolton who serve as u.s. ambassador under george bush, the choice of rice is telling. >> when you are a senior american official, you don'ting on the sunday talk shows unless you are white house choice. so, that to me is an indication there were already internal difficulties within the administration and that perhaps secretary clinton wasn't seen by the white house as the best spokesperson for what the administration wanted to say. >> september 17th the state department. >> does the united states government regard what happened in benghazi as an act of terror? >> again, i'm not going to put
labels on this until we have a complete investigation. okay? i don't think we know enough. >> from my experience. former obama spokesman. >> first reports incredibly have information that information that may be misunderstood. >> they panicked. >> former white house chief of staff john sununu is senior advisor to mitt romney's campaign. >> this is purely political reaction in a white house that had prepared itself to establish a narrative of a president getting rid of the threat of terrorism using the death of bin laden to focus that and waking up one morning and finding out that terrorism on 9/11 of this year was back full-fledged killed a u.s. ambassador.
>> i don't see a political agenda here. i see the fog of war. it's not about politics. it's about the difficult task of reconstructing what happened. >> september 18th. >> did the administration have any sort of heads up that violence was increasing in libya before the attack? >> i'm not aware of any. this is matter that is under investigation in terms what precipitated the attack and what the motivation of the attackers were. >> that night on the late show with david letterman, story seems to shift slightly. president obama says the video did spark muslim outrage where terrorism exploited. >> we had a video released that by somebody who lives there, a shadowy character. it caused great offense in much of the muslim world, but what also happened was extremists and
terrorists use this as an excuse to attack a variety of our embassies including the one the consulate in libya. >> capitol hill, the head of national terrorism center testifies and plainly states what everyone already notion. >> i would say, yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack. >> september 24th, the view. >> there is no doubt the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault that it wasn't just a mob action. >> next day, september 25th the president mentions the video six times at the united nations. >> there is no video to justify an attack on an embassy. >> october 8th at a san francisco fund-raiser, he pushes the idea the threat from al-qaeda is waning. >> today al-qaeda is on its heels and osama bin laden is no more. >> the next day, state
department provides off camera a blow-by-blow account of the attack. reporters learn that the compound was overwhelmed. fighters armed with machine guns and possibly rocket propelled grenades. congress holds a hearing. and state department officials despite being warned of attacks refused to beef up security in libya. first question is next vice presidential debate. >> i would like to begin with libya. >> and turns questions about what really happened in been gas si into benghazi into a heated issue. >> beyond the controversy our bigger issues. what benghazi reveals
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>>. >> bret: is it smart diplomacy or geopolitical correctness? katherine heritage asks if you are reluctant terrorism by its name, can you ever defeated the terrorists? >> we have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack. >> we've seen rage and violence directed at american embassies over an awful internet video. >> it was a spontaneous reaction
to what had just transpired in cairo. >> did the obama administration have a problem calling it a threat by its name. >> there is no question they avoided the use of the word terror. >> porter gauss who headed the c.i.a. >> you can't ignore criminal acts. we can't ignore terrorists acts. >> he says goss says it's especially high and libya was part of that world. case in point, a mysterious ship picked up in turkey on september 6th, five days before chris stevens and sean smith and former navy seals were killed during the assault in benghazi. according to a september 14th report by the times of london, 400 tons of cargo on board, some of it humanitarian and also holding a large consignment of weapons headed for the
remembers. it's a huge warning sign that the situation on the ground is vastly more dangerous than the state department may have realized. even before the well organized massive attack in benghazi that knew the threat from al-qaeda was large and growing. >> what do you think al-qaeda looks like today? >> it's much stronger. it's spreading out. >> there is no question in your mind that al-qaeda is stronger in north africa today than it was four years ago? >> absolutely. they have all kinds of new organizations. >> so it suggests that the white house doesn't get it. >> the problem is, they are avoiding reality, bad things happen when you avoid reality and we have just seen that. >> we are in a stronger position today than we were four years ago. >> t.j. crowley assistant secretary of state believes that president's anti-terrorism policies are paying off.
>> we have gone through a dramatic transition, call it the arab spring. these transitions of repudiation that every bin laden stood for and tried to achieve through violent means. >> he says you don't make americans safer with words that inflame. you do it by winning over those we can work with. >> we are at the stage where we need partnerships to solve any meaningful crisis around the world. united states can't do that alone. >> do you believe there is dead americans as a result of this administration's roughly to call the threat what it is? >> i do. showing signs of weakness, they take that as an opportunity and will attack. >> bret: what did the president say, when did he say it? that question is one of the most explosive in the presidential campaign. could the election turn on the answer
>>. >> bret: benghazi terror attack, the white house responds, the november election, democrats coo accuse republicans of gotcha politics. they say it cuts to the hat of election. this much is true, it's an issue that is not going away soon. >> by october the republican presidential nominee mitt romney is regularly hitting president obama hard on libya. >> the attack on our consulate can't be blamed on a video insulting islam. despite the administration's attempts to convince of that. >> but they insist the only reason it's a political issue at all is because romney and ryan are making it one. october 11th, right before the vice presidential debate, i asked her if she really meant
that. >> what are you suggesting. are you suggesting we are playing politics with this? you have been -- >> this has become the political topic. four people are dead. >> absolutely. this administration. let me get my sentence out. this administration has treated this entire tragedy with the utmost seriousness. at the same time we're doing that, we have two people campaigning around the country accusing us of covering something up. >> bret: but in the vice presidential debate itself, the moderator makes libya her first question. >> wasn't this some massive intelligence failure. >> it was a tragedy. we will get to the bottom of it. mistakes that were made will not be made again. >> what we are watching is unraveling of the obama foreign policy. >> they wanted more security there. >> we were told -- we did not though they wanted more security there. >> biden not only places the
blame squarely on the state department and intelligence community, but he also seems to flatly contradict what state department officials have said under oath. that sends the administration back-pedaling the next day. >> what the vice president said. >> we pachbtd more security there. >> he was never briefed more security was needed. >> clearly the white house, they are playing under that. >> commentator mark stein has wrote about it for years. >> they have the intelligence community. they got the state under under there. >> ambassador can you speak briefly about the attack in benghazi? >> but wright's bus bos will crawl under the bus.
hillary clinton says she takes the responsibility for what happened in benghazi. >> i do everything i can to protect our people and i wanted to make sure we track on down whoever did this. >> it comes a day before the second presidential debate. where the president for the first time takes responsibility, too. then goes after romney. >> the day after the attack, governor, i stood in the rose garden. i told the american people that this was an act of terror and the suggestion that anybody in my team would play politics ornr of our own governor is offensive. >> that set off an exchange that may go down as one of the most remarkable in the history of televised presidential debates. >> you said in the rose garden it was an act of terror. it was not a spontaneous demonstration. >> please proceed, governor. >> i want to make sure we get to
that for the record. it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in benghazi an act of terror. >> he did in fact. let me call it an act of terror. he did call it an act of terror. >> only after the debate maybe she was the one with her facts wrong. charles krauthammer was part of the coverage. >> she waked away from it. her intervention was in front of 70 million people who will remember that and not know anything about her walking away. >> then on thursday, a report claims that secretary of state clinton ordered security in libya beefed up, a request that was never carried out. just today official state department cables show ambassador stevens was increasingly worried about al-qaeda's security threat leading up to attack and cabled stevens on september 11th the
day he was killed. more reasons for america to ask -- who is ultimately responsible for leaving those americans so vulnerable. >> if it is the white house, this would be devastating. >> but mark hopes the political post mortem doesn't obscure the more frightening fact that terrorism may be back with a vengence and america is woefully unprepared. >> what is wicked about this, bret, the real politicalization there are those that only see it will help us in ohio. it may cause us problems in florida. this could go bad for obama. it's really bad to the united states because this is humiliation for the united states. it's bad for chris stevens and bad for sae9sdz smith and bad for tyrone woods. they are dead. they are gone.
>> which brings us back to lieutenant colonel andrew wood who saw the deadly debacle coming. >> bret: i can tell you are emotional about it. the ambassador was killed, first one since 1979. he is your friend. >> it's a huge thing to have a loss like that. i grieve for his loss. i grieve for the loss that we suffer as our nation. it was our job to defend the compound. >> bret: benghazi attacks staggered america. we now have another reason to mourn on 9/11. a new unmistakable warning. islamic terrorists that brutalized our citizens were well armed killers intent on doing us great harm. the brave americans in libya